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Innocent Party

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Innocent Party

Publication date 1959
Publisher Centron
Digitizing sponsor Kansas Board of Health
Like many other Centron venereal disease films, Innocent Party focuses on the morality and emotions associated with venereal disease rather than the medical aspects. The actual mechanics of syphilis transmission are only briefly mentioned let alone prevention via condom use, yet the shame and anguish are clear for all to see. This film echoes the common theme found in many venereal disease films - that premarital sex leads to VD.

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Reviewer: thayRay - favorite - February 14, 2014
Subject: AM radio causes VD??
If I'd known that I would have put in the 8-track.
Reviewer: apestench - - October 19, 2011
Subject: Premarital Sex Leading to VD?
Premarital sex may not directly lead to VD, but my wife, a nurse in a public health office who treats VD cases, will tell you that the vast majority (over 90 percent) of couples who come in to be treated are not married. And of the married couples who come in, they all got it because one of them was with someone he wasn't married to.
Reviewer: pataphysician - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 14, 2008
Subject: review of The Innocent Party
Great jazz score-the kind that indicates that some Hanky-panky is going to happen. This would've been a perfect Reagan-era film-it has the Reagan era attitude about sex-"don't mention condoms, or how stds are contracted."
Reviewer: 23_skidoo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 21, 2007
Subject: Syphilis in living color!
A rare Centron color educational film, as Centron normally only used color for its industrial productions. But this wasn't just any regular educational film. It was an important script on venereal disease commissioned by the Kansas State Board of Health. In fact, it was the first VD film aimed specifically at teenagers. Don, played by Harper Barnes (Ron in "The Snob") and his buddy Nicky (Larry Sneegas) are in the city one night, and decide to pick up a couple of trashy girls off the street. One thing leads to another, and soon they've all had sex. Then Don goes parking with his "nice" girlfriend, Betty (Sandra Hopkins), and has sex with her, too. In a mental hygiene film, nothing good can come out of so much sex, and indeed Don is soon complaining to Nicky that's he got a sore "down there." Don then decides to go to the school doctor, competently played by Shelby Storck, an actor from Kansas City ("Coffee Break"). Storck diagnoses Don with syphilis, and when Don won't admit to all the girls he's slept with, the doctor uses shock tactics, pulling out his medical books and showing Don (and us folks watching) graphic depictions of syphilis' effects---a baby born without a nose, terrible sores on your sexual (not "special") organs, etc.

Still, Don says "he's got to have time to think about it", but of course Don does eventually bring Betty in, and the doctor confirms that they both have syphilis---but the doctor has caught the disease in time, so Don and Betty can be treated and will be alright. Don and Betty are both staring at the floor, their heads downcast, muttering lines like, "I'd rather be dead." To which Storck replies, "I know. But tomorrow, you'd rather be cured." The End. The film is effective, despite some overacting by the young couple, and won some prestigious awards and was widely used by schools up until the 1980s. There's also a cool jazz combo soundtrack to open your ears to, besides. For anyone interested, Harper Barnes (Don) was paid $150 for his work in this film. Shelby Storck (the doctor) was paid $200 and Sandra Hopkins (Betty), an actress from Topeka, was paid $100. Larry Sneegas (Nicky) earned $50. Also according to Centron production records, "The Innocent Party" was produced by Art Wolf, directed by Herk Harvey, and written by Trudy Travis, with photography by Norm Stuewe and Maurice Prather and sound and editing by Chuck Lacey and Dan Palmquist. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: silvertwinz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 21, 2006
Subject: what a bummer...
don the cad goes out and puts his wingwang on the roulette table and craps out. then he gives it to his best girl. she views him as if he's satan himself. and rightfully so. just remember--no glove no love.
centron films were usually filmed in lawrence kansas. i can see some of the landmarks there and i grew up a stone throw from there.
Reviewer: autoguy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 17, 2006
Subject: Gee willikers!
Golly gee, Don! Gosh Betty! A tragic tale of poor victimized Don, brutally raped against his will by some girl over "in the city". Well, certainly his steady date would never be such a slut. Guess again! The suspense, the guilt, the drama, the tangled web of steamy sluts and social spirochetes! Not to mention the great musical score. They took a risk, they have been condemned by society! "Backseat Betty" would rather be DEAD! Funny, earlier she had rather taken her panties off. See this sordid tale of Backseat Betty and Dummy Don, and don't let THIS happen to YOU!
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 8, 2006
Subject: Love never means having to say you have VD
Centron color productions are certainly rare, so this was fun to see, you can see a lot of faces from previous productions.. Only in color! Weee! In this case we follow a man who contracts VD from a cheap hustle off the street then he unwittingly gives it to his girlfriend during a wild parking session, if you know what I mean. Soon, heÃÂs off to the doctor because he has a pain ÃÂdown thereÃÂ. The doctor gives him the bad news.. HeÃÂs got a syphilis sore on his special organ. Yes, thatÃÂs what the doctor calls it, his ÃÂspecial organÃÂ. This is probably the unsexiest sex ed film ever. Even ÃÂWhen Boys GrowÃÂ was more descriptive. But of course, the doctor is keen to show the now-scarred-for-life man graphic pics of advanced cases of female syphilis when he doesnÃÂt fess up the names of every gal heÃÂs slept with, but canÃÂt use basic medical terminology? Wow.
On a fun note, the male lead looks like a young Ryan OÃÂNeal, so I was thinking this to be a warped version of Love Story.
Reviewer: tondelayo - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 24, 2005
Subject: Saw this film as a high school Senior, just before I graduated
I found this film and remembered that it was the film that they brought only the high school Seniors into the auditorium to see, just before we graduated [this would have been in January or February, 1963, for me, in the Los Angeles, CA area].

There was no discussion before or after, just the showing of the film, then we all went back to our classes in silence. We all had a lot to ponder.

God, it's good times have changed!
Reviewer: Wilford B. Wolf - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 20, 2005
Subject: Centron... In Color
Melodramatic Centron film about VD, specifically syphillis. Don, a dashing high schooler goes out on the town and parks with a girl he meets. Later, his hormones go wild again and parks with his best girl on the way home from a party.

Clearly the cause of VD is parking.

He has concern about a sore that showed up on his penis (though the word is never mentioned in the film, not even by his doctor, who calls it his "special organ"), which is dismissed by his friend, but he goes to the doctor anyway. The doctor tells him he is infected and tries to get Don to tell him all the girls he's been with. The doctor states that he's "not here to lay a moral judgement," but it is clear that the message is abstanance. This is made clear at the end when he tells the couple that they did something that "society disapproves of." While the consequences of VD are laid out in a rather heavy handed way, the topic of sex is delicatately and strangely worked around.

Of interest is there is no overarching narrator, as we might find in earlier Centron films, but this is presented as a mini-melodrama. Perhaps the influence of television was really being felt by the late 1950s.
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